Learning Chinese (Mandarin)


I’m interested in learning conversational Chinese without going to the length of learning the Chinese script and wonder how I can do that with Lingq. I am already a member and can access all the lessons, but it seems it all requires learning the Chinese script. Is this the case? If that’s the case I would like to draw on other learning resources where this is not necessary. Any suggestions?



Go into reader settings and switch on the pinyin for asian scripts. Then, its almost like the characters will be “subtitled” into their phonetic latin counterparts.


Not learning the script will hold you back massively. Learning mandarin is a huge task, might aswell put in the extra effort to learn the script. As you get better at the language, knowing the script makes things a lot easier.

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Thanks David. Yes, I understand and well taken. Hmmm…I might get to this point but before that I will try to learn some of the basics without going to the length of learning the script.

Great! I will try this.

"Not learning the script will hold you back massively. "

For the first few years, this simply isn’t true.

What OP is proposing is actually the most efficient way to go about learning Mandarin.

You can dive into characters from the start, for sure, but it isn’t a requirement and it is not how the 99.99999999% of all successful Mandarin learners go about it.

For background on the science of when and how to start learning characters - see my comment in this post - How Do I Learn To Read/Write Chinese? Do I Just ... - Lan...

fwiw, my own view on starting Mandarin is in this post here - https://www.lingq.com/en/learn/zh/web/community/forum/ask-steve/how-to-start-chinese#post-122457

Learning to read characters is not that difficult. Writing is the difficult part. I personally believe learning to read charterers is worth the effort because it allows you to access significantly more content and no matter what your approach is you will need to study a massive amount of content. Once you get past super basic content finding pinyin transcripts will be a pain in the butt. With the extra time it would take you to work around not using characters you could probably learn to read them.

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99.99999999% of all successful Mandarin learners go about it.
I guess I’m the minority. Or your numbers are off.
Seems like the study you reference there is one of Chinese people learning to read. I’m not sure what relevance that has to adult learners.

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I agree. Unless you are young and immersed in a Chinese environment, trying to learn Chinese as Chinese children do, is hopeless and likely ineffective.
I do believe you should spend a few months on pinyin only and tones. However, if you want to break past the “phrases for tourist” stage, you must learn characters.

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